By Thursday: Pick two essays from the “Narrative” section in the McGraw-Hill and actively read them both (note: the shorter essays are not always the best pick). Then, answer this question in a well-written response: Which essay do you consider more POWERFUL and WHY? Think about language, usage, rhetorical devices, striking diction/syntax, etc. Not coupon eligible. You will be assessed on your written response (in terms of the italics above) AND your thoughtful response to someone else’s post. Try to seek out someone who read the same essay. 
Emma Chester
10/2/2012 06:26:50 am

I chose to read My Creature From the Black Lagoon by Stephen King and Salvation by Langston Hughes. After thinking about each individually, I found Salvation to be more powerful. Though King utilizes strong, intense language and is very descriptive, he lacks the innocence and sense of real emotion that makes Salvation appear to have a deeper concept. Hughes uses short sentences throughout his piece, as if he was thinking with the mind he had as a boy. This gives it a more personal feel, and the candid, truthful details help the reader to understand what the young Hughes is experiencing. King includes examples of asyndeton, diacope, and metaphor, as well as several allusions, but because they are so present, they do not stand out as much as the rhetorical devices that Hughes uses less frequently. In Salvation, I noticed anaphora when the preacher is asking Hughes “Won’t you come? Won’t you come to Jesus?” over and over again (634). These lines are significant, and Hughes shows this to the reader through the device. The examples of metaphor and personification also assist the tone in sounding childish and honest. It is easy to connect to writer. The way that Hughes describes lying about being saved and feeling remorse afterwards is a very relatable idea. Most people have acted under pressure just to not disappoint others, and this universal understanding binds the reader to the author. Overall though, I think that what makes Salvation more powerful is that I find the very topic of salvation deeper than the concept of fear.

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Maddie Williams
10/2/2012 09:59:42 am

Emma, I read My Creature from the Black Lagoon as well, I and am on the same page as you. Though the essay made an awesome connection that I had never thought of before, it's power was weak compared to that of the other essay I read. King really did a number with his syntax, using parenthesis and dashes to clarify and describe, I just thought my other essay was much more compelling.

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Jeff Lueders
10/3/2012 07:07:51 am

I actually read the same exact same two that you read so I understand exactly what you mean. Salvation really dug deeper than My Creature from the Black Lagoon. I'll admit King had some interesting views and a good way of presenting himself, but Hughes definitely created an emotional pull in his piece which was unmatched by King.

Kaytlynn Toering
10/3/2012 12:26:50 pm

Emma and Maddie-you guys are quite right about the prrofessionalism of King's writing. He uses many different things to catch the reader's attention. Although his rhetorical devices do stand out, they help make the text more understandable to the readers. Based on both of your blog entries, I really wished I picked a different second narrative. King's was not as strong as other narratives, but in comparision with my second narrative, "The Good Farmer," his stood out to me the most with his syntax and rehtorical devices, along with his message.

Danielle Curley
10/3/2012 08:37:09 am

Emma, I also read My Creature from the Back Lagoon, I agree that it didnt have appeal to emotions, the other article I read did a better job of that and was just more entertainig to read. Kings was just sort of boring.

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Danielle Curley
10/3/2012 08:39:55 am

I meant essay not article

10/3/2012 10:18:59 am

I agree with everyone so far about My Creature for the Black Lagoon. I was disappointed with this piece by King. I thought he made interesting points but he was never really able to grab my attention during his story.

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David Tarnowski
10/3/2012 11:28:36 am

I read the exact same essays as you did, and I totally agree with you. King's writing in fantastic, don't get me wrong, but Salvation definitely has a much more personal feel. I never looked at the fact the the sentence structure was shorter, but looking back at the essay, I see what you mean. That was a very interesting point. I also thought it was more immersing because, unlike King, Hughes' writing is a little more humorous. Very good analysis! I enjoyed reading it!

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Kylie Wermund
10/3/2012 12:59:53 pm

I read the same essays as you and I also thought that "Salvation" was more powerful than "My Creature from the Black Lagoon." Hughes grabbed my attention more than King did by using shorter sentences and and including more of a story. Although, I did like how King used rhetorical devices and syntax to their fullest, he didn't catch my attention as much as Hughes.

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Maddie Williams
10/2/2012 10:23:07 am

The essays I chose to read are My Creature from the Black Lagoon by Steven King and American Dreamer by Bharati Mukherjee. Though I really enjoyed how descriptive King was by using many parenthesis, dashes, and a lot of analysis, it was not as powerful to me as Mukherjee's essay. Her story had a much more powerful topic to begin with; one that describes Mukherjee's deep want for America to be a place where ethnicity truly does not matter, and how immigration is such a wonderful thing. To make this point, she uses diction, such as referring to herself as "...an American, rather than as an Asian-American" (436). By including herself in the American category after she has established her history in Calcutta adds to the power of the story. She also breaks the essay up into four main parts: her background information, how anti-cultural ism in North America effected her and others, how most people feel about mixing cultures, and her own opinion on how things should be. This syntax is very effective in organizing her ideas and hitting the message home. She doesn't use a ton of imagery, but her details, such as how how she describes her genealogy by saying "I was who I was because I was Dr. Sudhir Lal Mukherjee's daughter, because I was a Hindu Brahmin, because I was Bengali-speaking..." (433). This attention to detail adds power by giving a clearer understanding of how Mukherjee feels about the cultural blending issue in North America. All in all, Mukherjee's piece was really much more powerful in my eyes.

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Caitlin Morgan
10/2/2012 11:31:48 am

After reading both American Dreamer by Bharati Mukherjee, and My Creature From the Black Lagoon by Stephen King: to decide which was more powerful, would be far too difficult to determine. American Dreamer is a very formal approach to illustrating the corruptive fallacies of naturalized citizens, from a subjective point of view, as an immigrant herself. This differs in a broad sense from King’s narrative, for My Creature From the Black Lagoon is a subtle explanation of the generationally constant roles of horror flicks, through the eyes of a well-known horror novelist. Looking specifically at the diction and syntax of each essay, I suppose one could make the inference that Mukherjee’s article was more striking, due to the more informative and structurally written paragraphs. A vibe of unpleasant disappointment leering in her words, the formality in her writing pleads out in a way that almost belts: “I mean business,” which immediately draws the reader’s interest. However, when it comes to descriptive qualities and audience appeal, King’s would be considered the most dominant. He takes us to a place in our hearts barely ever touched upon: fear, and the personal fabrication we use to fuel its fires. Each have textbook “powerful” qualities: Mukherjee drawing from passion and personal hope, King pulling from nostalgia and detail.

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Emma Chester
10/3/2012 05:47:40 am

Caitlin, I love that you noticed powerful points in each narrative. Although I didn't find My Creature From the Black Lagoon particularly deep, I also thought that King's attention to detail was outstanding. It was interesting to read his description of what horrified him at different points in his life, and the careful organization of the piece assisted King in making his point. I agree with you in that King made an excellent appeal to his audience, but as far as being powerful is concerned, it sounds to me like the other narrative you chose is a more moving essay.

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Kaitlyn Wade
10/3/2012 11:14:43 am

Caitlin, did you enjoy American Dreamer as much as I did? I also didnt find her story too descriptive or rhetorically strong. I didnt read King's story, was that one as strong? Or did American Dreamer just have the appeal because she made the reader vote on her side? I think she has the persuasion, but not the strength to back it up.

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Gunner Harrison
10/3/2012 11:18:21 am

I read "American Dreamer" as well and i concur with Caitlin. Mukherjee was striking to the reader and drew me in immediately. She made me interested in what her take on the subject was, especially since she is an immigrant. It wasn't very descriptive but it did do a better job of influencing how I thought about it.

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David Tarnowski
10/3/2012 11:29:38 am

I like the word usage. I concur with it.

Alex Forsythe
10/3/2012 12:46:59 pm

I also read American Dreamer, and I think this essay is informative. She does talk about some of her experiences, but altogether it is telling us about the U.S. and how we view things. It was striking because it was from an immigrants point of view, rather than it being from an native-born U.S citizen.

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Jeff Lueders
10/3/2012 07:02:19 am

The two narratives I chose to read were Salvation by Langston Hughes and My Creature from the Black Lagoon by Stephen King (coincidentally the same ones Emma read). When compared to My Creature from the Black Lagoon, Salvation definitely seems a more powerful and touching piece. Langston makes it this way because he combines religion with the innocence of a child, and creates a piece of art that pulls at one's emotions. Religion is viewed very vitally in this story and is shown as the kids gather on the pew in order to "see Jesus". Then when the one child doesn't "see Jesus" he feels bad, like something is wrong with him for having not seen Jesus, and is then magnified when he lies about "seeing Jesus" and goes up to the altar to be bless since he thought it was ridiculous to stay any longer. I found this more touching than King's writing because King simply gave a story about when he was a kid and went into deep, unnecessary analysis. In general King was being too broad to be considered very emotionally touching.

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Evan Pille
10/3/2012 08:18:50 am

Concerning "Salvation" you said that religion was viewed very vitally. While I do agree that religion is a central part of the story, it seems that his point may have been that religion is in fact unvital considering the boy at the end didn't believe in Jesus. But then again he could be saying that he was just too young as a child to understand why he didn't see Jesus and that now he understands it better. It's just hard to tell from that one excerpt.

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David Tarnowski
10/3/2012 11:33:41 am

I'll have to agree with Evan. Although religion is the support for this story, I think that his struggle with religion and being the only one who can't see Jesus is the real vital part to the story. But other than that, I agree with you. Good choice. It seems like a lot of people liked Salvation and Emma, you, and me all thought it was the better of the two essays we read.

Sara Buckle
10/3/2012 08:03:02 am

My reading selections included Learning How to Read and Write by Frederick Douglass and The Lonely, Good Company of Books by Richard Rodriguez. Rodriguez's narrative was interesting, eloquent, and appealing to his audience, but Douglass makes a greater story because of his use of diction and thoughtfulness, not to mention his generally very powerful topic. The syntax used in Learning How to Read and Write is long, with a lot of commas to give life to his factual clauses. This gives the essay a very formal feel, but Douglass has injected his own passion into his writing. He says, "I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast," (259). In addition to intense honesty, Douglass uses a few rhetorical devices, including a metaphor, epistrophe, and antithesis. These things add a lot of emphasis to the power of his story, "[Reading] opened my eyes to a horrible pit, but no ladder upon which to get out," (258). The despair in his writing voice makes what he has to say very powerful. Overall, Douglass's passion is incorporated through his writing in several ways, making it much more magnetic to my mind.

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Evan Scieszka
10/3/2012 09:04:16 am

I also read How to Read and Write and I also felt the strong passion shown by Douglass and his formal writing style. I also feel that he is very descriptive with the epistrophes. I also find it intereasting that you incorporated the use of antithesis into your summary, I did not see that before. Another thing I want to add is that although he uses long sentences, he also varies between using short sentencces as well to place emphasis unto his point.

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Sara Buckle
10/3/2012 09:34:47 pm

Hm...he does, doesn't he? I guess I hadn't really noticed that before.

Evan Pille
10/3/2012 08:11:51 am

I read "Salvation" and "The Stone Horse". Out of the two I found "The Stone Horse to be the most powerful Which was surprising considering what the two were about. "Salvation" was a sort of reflection on religion while "The Stone Horse" was just about preserving old relics of the past. Part of the reason for that is because while "The Stone Horse" has a specific and outlined message, "Salvation" does not. In fact it's a sad ending and leaves you wondering how he turned out (I suppose this is a great thing to do in the context of an autobiography but it doesn't stand very well on its own). Another reason for this is that "The Stone Horse" is just overall better written. The last sentence especially with it being kind of sharp, unexpected and straightforward. Bary Lopez also does a great enough job with imagery to bring a far away stone sculpture to life. With "Salvation" on the other hand, It does paint an interesting picture of a unconvinced young boy in the midst of overwhelming faith, it leaves you rather unsatisfied.

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Taylor Dale
10/3/2012 08:30:25 am

I thought it was interesting to see that you chose The Stone Horse instead of Salvation. I almost chose my other narration, but it just was not up to par with Salvation. I believe that just because a story is more uplifting does not mean it is more powerful. There is more to it than the purpose behind the story. It is how the writer portrays it just like our summer reading papers.

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Kasey S.
10/3/2012 11:52:28 am

I agree With Taylor, though one peice of writing may be more uplifting than another that does not necessarily mean that it's more powerful.

Dylan Gustafson
10/3/2012 09:42:34 am

I also read "Salvation", and I also couldn't help but think how the ending was not satisfying. It would have been better if it showed Hughes telling his Aunt that he faked his salvation. On the other hand, I thought it was fairly written, neither good nor bad.

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Evan Scieszka
10/3/2012 08:20:47 am

I read “My Creature from the Black Lagoon” by Stephen King and “Learning to Read and Write” by Fredrick Douglas. Douglas’s perseverance through slavery and raw emotion that he describes is very moving. Although King’s statement was very well thought out, however, describing how children and adults cope with scary movies in different ways is far less powerful than the raw emotion in which Fredrick Douglas describes his struggles. Kings paper had very long sentence structure which served its purpose of really sounding more like a paper explaining a point rather than one based on emotion. Douglas’s paper however, used powerful diction that King could not really accomplish. Douglas frequently talked about the sheer depression he faced when he came to the realization that he was going to be a slave for life and how he loathed his masters for giving him such a fate. Douglas tends to use a very short sentence structure to emphasis the many emotions that he felt during the hard time in his life. By Douglas having lived the horrors of slavery first hand, he is able to vividly describe his emotion like when he says “I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wishing myself dead” (259). This also allows the reader to gain a better understanding of how truly hard it was for him to read and write while still in slavery. Douglas uses monologue while King uses none because Douglas is trying to convey emotions and experiences to the reader while King is being more descriptive in his writing. Douglas uses anaphora and epistrophe many times to describe one thing multiple ways like when he says “I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it” (259). This description shows how the reader of how Douglas is haunted by the concept of never being free constantly in his early life. Since Douglas is writing about such a personal hardship and does it so accurately and vividly his paper is certainly the more powerful of the two.

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Ravi Shah
10/3/2012 09:53:42 am

I too read "Learning to Read and Write," and I agree with you that Douglas was very emotional in his writing. It makes the read much more powerful and touching, while many of the other essays were much more descriptive and emotionless. This made Douglas's narrative much more vivid than many of the others, and a much more well written piece.

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Samir Shah
10/3/2012 11:44:55 am

I very much agree with your ideas. I think that he uses the older writing style to show the older version of America. I also like how you incorporated both his feeling on life as a slave, and abolition. I noticed how you stressed the fact that he put so much emotion into writing this piece, and how you showed a comparison to your other choice. Nice job Evan.

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10/3/2012 01:41:28 pm

Evan, I read "My Creature from the Black Lagoon." King is an amazing writer, and uses many different rhetorical devices, and interesting syntax and diction, I felt his narrative wasn't as compelling as my other pick. His topic wasn't very stand out, it was kind of boring to be honest. At least, compared with my other narrative.

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Taylor Dale
10/3/2012 08:21:07 am

The narratives I chose were Writing Matters by Julia Alvarez and Salvation by Langston Hughes. Both expressed great power towards their purpose for writing and I was able to connect with both stories. Ultimately I decided that Salvation was more powerful. It was very up lifting and used several schemes and tropes such as anaphora, parallelism, anadiplosis, polysyndeton, personification, and rhetorical questions. Two that really stuck out and made the piece are rhetorical question and anaphora. Hughes uses them both together when he writes, “Why don’t you come? My dear child why don’t you come to Jesus? Jesus is waiting for you. He wants you. Why don’t you come?” (634). Salvation is also more powerful because Hughes expresses emotion with exclamation marks and question marks. He also uses dialogue so the reader understands and it adds emphasis to the emotions to show that it was just happening in his head. The use of short sentences fit the piece because there was so much happening around Langston Hughes in the story and boys and most people for that matter do not usually talk in long lengthy sentences. In the end the whole piece came together and is deemed more powerful because it had the true connection to the reader. Most people have cried themselves to sleep because some they did or felt was not right and their conscience is just eating away at their soul. Another reason why Salvation was more powerful than Writing Matters is because it was more interesting to read it did not bore the reader to sleep, just for the record Writing Matters is interesting and was not that boring.

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Mason Freehling
10/3/2012 01:24:12 pm

"Salvation" truly did have a great connection with the reader. I felt the way it was written was quite intense to a degree. Hughes writes such a strong piece in such few lines, but it speaks so powerfully to me. Peer pressure causes a lot of problems as I feel it causes the crying of Hughes to sleep in this particular narrative.

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Danielle Curley
10/3/2012 08:57:58 am

I chose to read “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard and “My Creature from the Black Lagoon” by Stephen King, they were both good essays but I found “An American Childhood” to be more powerful. Even though King’s essay had more Rhetorical Devices like allusion and metaphor I didn’t think it was as powerful as the other essay. King didn’t appeal to emotions that well, he showed his sense of humor at parts but his tone was straight forward. In other words it was boring. Dillard showed emotion I her essay by the way she spoke of her mother. The tone was admiration and respect. Dillard used metaphor and rhetorical question, “what could anyone do about it?”(Dillard 320). The author showed her tone and her admiration through her diction and the word choice. “She was an unstoppable force; she never let go”(319). I thought this was better than Stephen King’s essay because it was more enjoyable and not so serious, it had emotion and humor.

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jared wendland
10/3/2012 03:12:30 pm

I agree with you on how you saw An American Childhood to be more moving. His on going battle with his-self was quite intense. I would totally agree that this essay appealed to the emotions more than others.

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Marcus Shannon
10/3/2012 09:05:38 am

I read Langston Hughes “Salvation” and Richard Selzer’s “Sarcophagus”. Out of these two I feel “Sarcophagus” gave a more powerful reaction than that of “Salvation”. Hughes predicament does relate to me as a child when confronted with the situation. The way he formatted his syntax is the same way I thought to myself at that age, and the way the minister kept using diacope to plead with him “Why don’t you come? My dear child, why don’t you come to Jesus” (634). It all seemed so déjà vu to me, but the tone of Sarcophagus seems to be more impactful. Through Selzer’s syntax he emphasizes the stress of the operation, and the vital roles of everyone involved in it. The way he uses asyndeton to describe the environment makes it seem frantic, which is probably like a real operation. The tone of the narrative seems to make Selzer highlight the importance of taking care of your health. The patient’s family was described as overweight and later on he described the importance of a healthy body. The story might be of someone who died under the knife, but the underlying message to take care of your body is greater. If everyone would treat themselves with respect unnecessary deaths like this wouldn’t happen as often. That topic seems to be more important than an innocent lie that happened when you were young.

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Colli Hala
10/3/2012 10:21:47 am

I think we both got the same idea from Selzer's "Sarcophagus." The used of his syntax was stressing the importance of the operation. His use of that device, along with his asyndeton and slew of metaphors really helped push his message and convey the story. Also, it's nice to see someone else who chose this same piece.

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Owen Carow
10/3/2012 11:38:15 am

I also identified with the events in Salvation. I thought that Hughes's feelings about Jesus sum up a lot of people's reaction when first told about being "saved in the Lord", regardless of if you are religious or not. I think children have a hard time with a lot of religious concepts, especially ones like this that many adults have to ponder before understanding. Hughes thought he was expected to have a miraculous epiphany, so he decided to fit in with the crowd rather than express his real worries.

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Dylan Gustafson
10/3/2012 09:25:41 am

My two narratives were "Salvation" by Langston Hughes, and "The Lonely, Good Company of Books" by Richard Rodriguez. I enjoyed the latter one a lot more the "Salvation" because I enjoyed how Rodriguez incorporated his rhetorical devices. His favorite one was the rhetorical question, which I enjoyed because it allowed the reader to think deeply about the question. He also uses a hypophora (264), and some metaphors. Specifically, I enjoyed the metaphor, "And it bothered me that I was forced away at the conclusion, when the fiction closed tight, like a fortune-teller's fist-the futures of all the major characters neatly resolved" (265). Rodriguez explains that he does not like endings that do not leave you satisfied. This is exactly how I do not books. This is why I did not like "Salvation". Like Evan P. said, the ending just leaves you sitting there wanting to know what happened to him. Another reason I prefer Rodriguez is because his thesis is deep and meaningful. He basically says that reading will not only increase one's academic success, but help develop one's enjoyment for it.

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Rachel Tuller
10/3/2012 10:36:28 am

I agree with you that Rodriguez used a ton of rhetorical questions in his narrative. And isn't that a simile that he uses, not a metaphor? But I really enjoyed that quote as well. The way he puts it really does a good job of describing what it's like to close a book. I didn't read the other narrative that you did but between the two I read, Rodriguez had the better one.

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Kathleen Janeschek
10/3/2012 04:14:11 pm

I'm sorry, Dylan, but I have to disagree with you on Rodriguez's thesis. In his last two paragraphs, he says "I lacked a point of view when I read" (265) and "I convinced myself I had read The Republic" (265). The former statement is a direct acknowledgement of how despite reading all of these books, he was only better off in a superficial sense. Books hadn't made him think or teach him how to develop his own point of view. He failed to read them properly and instead read them so he could pretend to be a wise person. His latter statement confirms this. To him, reading was an accomplishment where the only thing that mattered was getting to the last page. He saw every word of a book and thought that meant he read it, but he was wrong. For he didn't expand his mind or question his beliefs after them, instead, he crossed their names off a list. That's what Rodriguez is trying to say; people need to read to think, not read to learn.

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Jeremy M. Barker
10/3/2012 04:15:29 pm

I agree with Dylan especially with the Rhetorical question being Rodriguez's favorite. He uses it to explain his personal thoughts which allow the reader to have a deeper understand of what he is trying to explain. Also, with him using the more friendly, almost conversation tone it is easier to understand him. I would also say that Rodriguez had the more powerful of the two essay that I read.

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Ravi Shah
10/3/2012 09:48:40 am

I read "Learning to Read and Write," by Frederick Douglas and "When Bright Girls Decide that Math is 'A Waste of TIme,'" by Susan Jacoby. I think that Douglas's narrative is much more profound, and enjoyed his stories about how he tricked the other children into teaching him how to read. The language that he uses is very simplistic, most likely because he learned how to write at such an old age compared to most people in that time. The way he structures his sentences is very interesting as well. In many of his sentences he has a long clause, a short explanatory excerpt, and then another short clause or phrase to finish the sentence. He also makes many allusions to works or places that he knows, such as his allusion to the works of Sheridan (260). This creates an air of friendship because it assumes that both the author and reader have been to all of those places and read the works that are referenced. Mostly, I thought that his descriptions as of what it is like to be a slave are very interesting and thought invoking. This was a well written narrative.

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Austin Latack
10/3/2012 01:56:03 pm

I completely agree. I felt that it was incredibly captivating to see into a profound person's stages of learning to read and write. I was a very good narrative.

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10/3/2012 09:53:40 am

After reading, Stone Horse, and The Language of Discretion, I still feel that Once More to the Lake puts them both to shame. White's imagery makes you feel like you are in the same boat with him, and his tone is so blissful, that you can only feel elated. White also uses epanlalepsis when he says summer time, oh summertime. White also uses alliteration, " The bass were biting". He ends the narrative with a very intense description of a thunder storm, comparing the sounds to percussion instruments. This narrative really captures a moment in which can last forever, a moment on a lake. I have a cabin and we visit every summer and reading this text voiced my feelings exactly, in nature, time never really passes.

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10/3/2012 10:13:17 am

When I was looking though the stories and I saw the Stephen King story I got really excited because we just read his book, so to read something else by him would be fun. So I choose to read My Creature for the Black Lagoon by Stephen King, also I choose to read Family Values by Richard Rodriguez. The stories were very different from each other but enjoyable in their own way. Personally, I found Family Values to be a more powerful piece. I liked how he surprised me with what his point of view on family values were. He was very honest throughout the whole piece on his homosexuality and how different American families are today which made the piece very personal. He used many rhetorical questions that made me stop and think for a moment. He made interesting point when he said that Huck Finn was the closest thing we have to a national hero (327). He was very critical of the government and some of the people in our country, which I did not agree necessarily with everything he said but I believe he had a right to say how he felt and I give him a lot of credit for expressing his opinion. I thought how he finished the piece was a perfect way to tie in all his points he wanted to make as well as continuing to keep the piece personal. He wrote a very strong piece and took and interesting view on the family values.

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Kasey S.
10/3/2012 11:49:34 am

I also Read “Family Values” I agree that is interesting when he said Huck Finn was national hero. Although I did not exactly understand how it fit into the topic/ I felt he got off topic a little but then realized it and got back on topic. I also didn’t agree with everything he said

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Colli Hala
10/3/2012 10:18:26 am

For my reading, I chose Stephen King's "My Creature from the Black Lagoon" and Richard Selzer's "Sarcophagus." Of the two, I think "Sarcophagus" did a much better job at provoking thought and providing a reaction than King's. King's was mildly entertaining in parts, but for the most part pretty boring. Selzer's, however, kept you engaged and all around more powerful. The language he used was pretty well developed, he did a lot more than "he cut him. He's bleeding." He actually told how it was happening. I noticed a lot of rhetorical devices, though they were mostly asyndeton and metaphors, and rhetorical questions, such as "...deft, tiny, mercurial." Also, his syntax changes throughout the piece. In the beginning, while he is describing his team and where they are from, he has longer, more flowing sentences. When he gets into the operation, and even deeper into the surgery, his sentences get shorter and shorter. His vocabulary gets less and less complex. I really enjoyed this narration.

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10/3/2012 11:36:00 am

"Sarcophagus" from the title alone tells that it has some technical terms included in it. They make it all the more riveting though. Selzer really grabs the readers and jolts them by describing the second by second play-by-play of this surgery being performed. He reminds readers at the end when he returns to the operation room, "There was no sign of a struggle. . . Already, the events of this night are hidden from me by these strange untranslatable markings"(717). He made the markings that he is referring to, which maybe shows how his duty as a surgeon and the harsh images he is confronted with are easier to just forget, because they weigh on him. It shows that you really have to have the stomach for such a demanding job as a surgeon.

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Richard H.
10/3/2012 07:45:46 pm

Collin, we had similar feelings for both essays. I agree that "Sarcophagus" provoked thought. I asked myself, "Why?" after the doctor let the patient die. I think I implied in my response that Selzer used more developed language, too. I think I saw simile in Selzer's essay, too, but it was irrelevant to what I was writing and I omitted it. Finally, I never thought that his sentences changed throughout the entire essay. Before and after the surgery, I felt the sentences were not different; they flowed the same to me. Maybe this sentence is irrelevant but it is understandable that the sentences became simpler during the operation because I don't think you can take forever to give directions to your assistants while operating on someone.

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Rachel Tuller
10/3/2012 10:30:33 am

The two narratives I read were "The Lonely, Good Company of Books" by Richard Rodriguez and "The Way to Rainy Mountain" by N. Scott Momaday. I thought that Rodriguez did a much better job just in the writing style than Momaday. While Momaday's narrative of his grandmother, he didn't seem to be able to pull the reader in. Momaday used mostly simple words and sentences that just seemed fairly ordinary. Rodriguez used much more for rhetorical devices in his piece and did a better job of emphasizing certain words throughout the piece. I also thought that Rodriguez enjoyed using a lot of rhetorical questions because they seemed to come up in every other paragraph. While they were both very good narratives to read, Rodriguez did a better job of writing his then Momaday did.

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Evan Kiel
10/3/2012 10:44:22 am

I read "My Creature from the Black Lagoon" by Stephen King and "'This is the End of the World': The Black Death" by Barbara Tuchman. I would consider "My creature from the Black Lagoon" to be the more powerful piece of writing. This is mostly because "The Black Death" is basically a long drawn out list of events with no real emotional attachment while on the other hand "Black Lagoon" gets you more involved and connected through the rhetorical devices used. For example, King uses rhetorical questions to involve the audience(King 539). But he also uses asyndeton to make it seem like he is ranting and stressing the topic especially in the part about children's perception of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny(King 539). Another factor is the diction King uses, words that are easy to understand but also that give his writing more power like 'terrified' , 'disbelief' and 'enslavement' (King 539 542 543). These small things make King's writing more interesting than that of Tuchman's which is close to a list of events and facts.

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Jordon Young
10/3/2012 11:22:13 am

I concur, kind sir. The Black Death was interesting, but it kept going on and on about what seemed like every city in Europe and Asia. After I read through most of it, the descriptions no longer affected me and I lost interest because there was nothing to keep me engaged. It was all just statistics, and everyone knows what they say about statistics: don't be one. Also, didn't it feel a bit like part of an APUSH essay? You know, if Eurasia was part of America.

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Jerred Zielke
10/3/2012 07:53:09 pm

I read the same two narratives as you and I concur. When I read "The Black Death," I wondered how much longer the essay was, hoping that it was almost done.

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Kaitlyn Wade
10/3/2012 11:03:25 am

I chose to read "American Dreamer" by Bharati Mukherjee, and "Strangers from a Distant Shore" written by Ronald Takaki. Both of this narratives were similar in topic, and i enjoyed American Dreamer the most, however, in terms of power "Strangers frorm a Distant Shore" won. Takaki was the most powerful because the tone was easily identified from the very beginning, and his use of Rhetorical devices aren't overwhelming, but they added so much more emphesis to his already passionate story. Takaki uses strong diction in the first couple of paragraphs that show the negativity of staying quiet, such as "They felt like a rape victim" (392). He inserts small poems into his narrative, and I thought his purpose for doing that was to set up the next paragraph, which seemed to create so much more emphasis by means of clarity. He also uses extreme discriptions of the people he references through hyperboles to make them seem nearly gods. He includes tons of rhetorical devices such as analogy, diacope, similes and a couple others which to some may seem overwhelming, however, i think he spaced them out in a way that they add emphasis. I dont know if it was just me, but i didnt see a whole ton of rhetorical devices in American Dream. That narrative was much more interesting to me, but it seemed just a story, as opposed to a story backed by tons of passion and example.

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Jordon Young
10/3/2012 11:14:37 am

My two choices were ""This Is the End of the World": The Black Death," by Barbara Tuchman, and "American Dreamer," by Bharati Mukherjee. When I read "The Black Death," I thought for sure that it was going to be the most powerful. What could be more convincing than death? Then I read "American Dreamer." While the former has a more solemn, dull tone, the latter has an uplifting, motivational feel and I can hear Mukherjee's voice clearly speaking her message––what is Tuchman's message? I understand that people dying is a big deal, but I don't feel a connection with the author or the subject. There is no way anyone can fully grasp how many people died. It's like learning about the Holocaust, we can feel sorry for them all we want, we can offer our sympathy, but it's impossible for us to empathize with the survivors. Therefore, why would anyone write an essay about it? If I didn't know it was an essay, I would have mistook it as the Black Plague section in an APUSH book(stylistically, not subject wise). I liked the essay and the subject matter––it was factual, it was detailed, and it had an amazing effect of burdening the audience with statistic after statistic after statistic(if the numbers them self don't express the loss, the sheer amount of statistics will surely accomplish this goal). It could have been me, but it seemed like there were "p" words everywhere, and every other sentence was begun with an introductory clause. I would like to see someone try to use more rhetorical devices than Tuchman did, considering the topic. It's all just facts, so it's a miracle that she could fit in alliteration. I chose "American Dreamer" because of the authors sense of purpose, obligation, and ambition, but mostly because I could hear her voice. Hearing her voice was, in itself, enough for me. I think it was her diction, and tone change that happened on page 436 that created that effect. After she goes over "us" vs. "them" she changes her word choice from "I", "me", "my", to "we" and "our"(436). I thought it was exceptionally clever by making her diction and tone changes a metaphor for her message.

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Katelyn Tillstrom
10/3/2012 11:25:00 am

Yes! I chose Black Death as well, with the same thoughts. You're right, there was no message, and it was like reading a history book.

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Evan Kiel
10/3/2012 11:43:46 am

Ya the "The Black Death" just makes no connection to the reader. No one as far as I know is still alive from that time so there is a need for the author to make a connection to the reader and Tuchman really doesn't manage to.

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Gunner Harrison
10/3/2012 11:14:55 am

I read "An American Childhood" on page 316 and "American Dreamer" on page 432. "American Dreamer" seemed to be more powerful of the two narratives . It seemed to be more powerful while "An American Childhood" seemed more friendly and fun to read. "American Dreamer" shows the troubles one girl goes through apposed to just a fun story. Bharati Mukherjee uses the word America along with what she believes being American is. This makes people think of American values and what they mean. She also uses words such as "us" to show she is connected with the American people. This allows the narrative to be more powerful for the reader.

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David Tarnowski
10/3/2012 11:20:22 am

Like Margaret, when I saw Stephen King's name I got excited and one of the essays I read was My Creature From the Black Lagoon. The other essay I picked was Salvation by Langston Hughes. These two novels were incredibly different in tone and style and I found Salvation much more powerful than My Creature From the Black Lagoon. Although it was much shorter, I think that it packed a good punch. In My Creature From the Black Lagoon, I felt that King kind of dragged on the essay. Salvation said what it needed to say in a quick and funny way. It seemed like it was written in a much more personal way than King's essay.King's essay seemed to be addressing broader ideas. Hughes' use of dialouge and dialect in the essay adds a very believable aspect to the narration. His use of polysyndeton in paragraph three when he says, "...all moans and shouts and lonely cries and dire pictures of hell..." (634) adds to the religous fervor of the people attending this revival. It gives one the sense of overwhelming amounts of activity and noise happening all at once.Langston Hughes also takes advantage of anadiplosis in paragraph ten. He writes, "Langston, why don't you come? Why don't you come and be saved? Oh, Lamb of God! Why don't you come?" (635) This makes the passage powerful as a whole because it emphasizes the main point of the essay. It relates to the fact that he came to the revival to become a child of Christ and to be saved. I honestly will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this passage much more than Stephen King's because not only was it funny and interesting, but I could also relate to it. I remember, when I was younger, being told that I would see Jesus as I got older. I expectantly waited, but was disappointed that I never actually saw him. Although Stephen King is a good writer, I enjoyed and thought that, Langston Hughes' style of narration, was much more powerful.

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Leland Dunwoodie
10/3/2012 12:07:36 pm

I agree on what you said about King's piece. It seemed to me that he was making lots of little points instead of a single straightforward message. King's use of imagery is admirable and, like you said, he is a great writer, but I too had trouble relating to the archaic events in King's essay. The other essay I read, "Stranger in the Village" by James Baldwin, was much more focused and understandable because of the logos Baldwin used throughout his piece. This logos impacted me more than King's drawn-out memories of watching drive-in horror movies as a child.

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Katelyn Tillstrom
10/3/2012 11:22:38 am

The two essays that I decided to read were “This is the End of the World: The Black Death” by Barbara Tuchman and “Am I Blue?” by Alice Walker. Tuchman’s narrative was interesting to read, and very informative. The diction she used was incredible. No on could have created a more accurate picture for this time in history because of that. Describing the victims of the plague with words like “mortals” and calling the plague a “calamity” made the piece more interesting. Besides just diction, imagery is used throughout. She described the disease with such detail. The quickly moving story matched the quickly spreading disease. There were many short sentences, making it abrupt and fast. By using a quote from a Welsh lament, the reader might feel as of they were experiencing it as well. This included many similes such as “…death coming into our midst like black smoke” and “its eruption is ugly like the seeds of black peas” (672). By the end of the narrative, I felt I understood this subject more and even enjoyed reading about it because of the way it was written. The other narrative by Walker was completely different. It was more of a story. But, this story contained a message behind it. Because of this reason, I found this to be the more important essay. “Am I Blue?” was enjoyable to read and very deep at the same time. I could compare and understand this one more than the other. Walker compares her experience with Blue the horse to people. And not just horses, but animals as a whole are like people. She goes further into the metaphor comparing it to slavery, ethnicity, and youth. At the end, when she discussed Blue’s changing personality because of is partner being sold (slavery analogy), I thought that was very fascinating. She brought things to my mind that I never really thought of before. She uses the simile “Blue was like a crazed person” (758). But really, the whole narrative was a simile, or metaphor. It was remarkable how she could take something as simple as a horse in her backyard, and turn it into this. Although Tuchman’s narrative was fascinating, and I received information, Walker’s was much more entertaining to read, and I personally got more out of it.

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Kelsey Berndt
10/3/2012 11:43:38 am

I thought that "Am I Blue?" achieved a greater depth than the other narrative I read as well. I did not really get the message Walker was trying to get across until she started comparing the horse's situation to slavery.

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Carley Grau
10/3/2012 12:13:50 pm

"Am I Blue?" also seemed more meaningful to me. The underlying message wasn't as clear at first but once it became clear it seemed really interesting while at the same time was kind of persuading you to agree with the way animals aren't treated right.

Zoey Holmstrom
10/3/2012 12:49:18 pm

I definitely am on the same page as you, Kelsey. Until page 758 I wasn't quite sure of what the message of the whole piece was. After she compared the horse to a crazed person did I realize that she was, in a way, comparing people of the past to him.

10/3/2012 11:25:06 am

The two essays I read were, “Sarcophagus” by Richard Selzer and “Stranger in the Village” by James Baldwin. They were both incredibly detailed. “Stranger in the Village” was very powerful, but so was “Sarcophagus,” which was pages shorter. It is so hard to choose! In terms of the striking subject matter, I would say the struggle to survive told in Selzer’s rendition of a surgery procession was more intense than Baldwin’s insight on the struggle of equality between races. First, the language in Baldwin’s work was direct and intense. Selzer uses many medical terms and he is very forthright with his details of what ensues throughout the operation, never omitting the gory imagery, thus significantly more vivid than Baldwin. Baldwin, on the other hand covers a familiar topic, which is discrimination and the deep feelings it provokes, from his and the overall African-American perspective. His diction contains words like rage, dissembling, contempt, and abstractions. Selzer’s blunt diction refers to dire things like bleeding, cancer, incisions, and death. Some rhetorical devices in Selzer’s work include similes and metaphors. Here is a metaphor, describing during the surgery when the patient bleeds uncontrollably everywhere: “A quick glance at Roy. His gown and gloves, even his mask, are sprinkled with blood. Now he is dipped; and I, his baptist” (712). A vivid form of metonomy is shown here: “...the peritoneum snapped open and a giant shining eggplant presents itself. It is the stomach, black from the blood it contains and that threatens to burst it”(712). Baldwin exercises antimetabole when he writes, “People are trapped by history and history is trapped in them”(441). He exercise a metaphor by writing, “...and hence all black men have toward all white men an attitude which is designed, really, either to rob the white man of the jewel of his naivete, or else to make it cost him dear”(442). Baldwin shocks readers by choosing to include the connotative language referred to black men, starting with ‘n’. Also, his syntax focuses on abundantly elaborating through lengthy paragraphs, on the idea, which he sums up here: “The black man insists, by whatever means he finds at his disposal, that the white man cease to regard him as an exotic rarity and recognize him as a human being”(442). Selzer makes his essay seem powerful, most, by the general composure at the part when he translates the dreadful, inevitable, and common realization that the patient cannot be saved. He writes in consecutive questions revolving around, “For what tool shall I ask? With what device fight off this bleeding?”(713). The tone in Selzer’s work is fast paced, urgent, uncensored, and he writes in a way so the reader senses that he deals with such seemingly life-altering, wild, traumatic emergencies on a regular basis. Baldwin’s tone is more full of rejection, resentment, awareness, and pain. These were some interesting points seen in Baldwin’s and Selzer’s amazing essays.

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Owen Carow
10/3/2012 11:30:24 am

My two picks were Salvation by Hughes and, going against the grain, The Way to Rainy Mountain by Momaday. Both selections dealt with religion, specifically having your god fail you in front of your eyes. While Hughes’s take on the concept was well written, disappointment in the Christian God is a somewhat commonplace experience. I found Momaday’s account of the final Sun Dance chilling and unique, and it spoke more powerfully to me. Not only did Tai-me not appear to the tribe that day, the cancellation of the ritual was effectively the death of their honored god. There is also an interesting parallel running throughout the piece: the journey of the Kiowa toward the plains and rising sun, the author’s journey to his grandmother’s homeland, and the journey of the cricket to block out the moon. I thought that the commonality between these was the search for completeness. The tribe searched for their god in the wide horizons of the plains. The author searched for understanding with his grandmother’s culture. The cricket traveled to the one spot where it could be greater than the moon, “made whole and eternal" (745). This repetition shows that while their might has been taken from them, the Kiowa search for greatness is still intact when approached the right way. The author uses simile and metaphor to create the mournful tone of the essay. He compares old houses to sentinels constantly watching the plains, filled with ghosts and spirits, or Yellowstone as a confined, unwelcoming place not meant for man. The most striking language to me were the vivid descriptions and imagery, like when the funeral is expressed as "the endless wake of some final word" (744). Momaday is able to show the greatness of his ancestors' culture while simultaneously expressing its decay.

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Samir Shah
10/3/2012 11:34:36 am

The narratives I read were, “Learning to Read and Write,” by Fredrick Douglas and, Wonder Woman, by Gloria Steinem. After reading them, I found that, “Learning to Read and Write,” was a much more powerful essay then “Wonder Women.” Although Steinem was very persuasive when showing why her mother was very kind and caring, she lacked the emotion and details that characterize her mother as special. On the other hand, Douglas uses different syntax, word choice, rhetorical devices, and emotion that make his story seem more realistic and more of a life experiences then a flash back. For instance, most of the time he writes with long clauses, sometimes separated by a shorter clause. The style he uses is more to the point and simplistic than I thought it would be and many of his sentences were to the point rather than long irrelevant clauses. He uses anaphora with words such as slavery to show the magnitude of it in that time. For instance, “I found in it a dialogue between the master and his slave. The slave was represented as having run away…”(258). Along with that, he uses an older word choice and sentence structure, for example, “The silver trump of freedom had aroused my soul to eternal wakefulness”(259). Another thing that Douglas does that is unique is that he writes very vividly about slavery, and abolition. He says, “Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen is everything”(259). Here, Douglas is trying to convey that freedom was the only thing he could think about. I feel that both were good essays, but because Douglas had to write about the pain and fear of slavery, rather than flashbacks on good times, I feel that his was more powerful. Although it lacked in rhetorical devices, the diction and syntax creates a connection with the reader to feel what he feels. I thought that this essay was very well written and it got me thinks about how people is slavery felt about their lives.

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Kelsey Berndt
10/3/2012 11:40:07 am

I read "The Lonely, Good Company of Books," by Richard Rodriguez and "Am I Blue?" by Alice Walker. Although Rodriguez's narrative contains more rhetorical devices, I thought Walker's was more thought-provoking. The syntax was more complex, and she really painted a picture for me. It's clear to me that Walker cares about. Walker didn't use many rhetorical devices, but she did use hypohora "What then did the men see, when they looked into the eyes of the women they married, beore they could speak English?" (758), similie "I remained as thrilled as a child..." (757), and asyndeton "low, wide, nearly floor to ceiling," (756). Walker also made an interesting connection between the relationship of animals and humans and of whites and blacks during slavery, which really helps to convey the message she is trying to display.

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Courtney Bennett
10/3/2012 01:24:26 pm

I agree that Walker did a good job of painting a picture. Her imagery and descriptions are so vivid. I enjoyed that essay because of how easily Walker made it to imagine what she wanted you to imagine. I could really feel Blue's emotions and understand Walker's point.

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Kasey S.
10/3/2012 11:44:27 am

I read “Family Values” by Richard Rodriguez and “Salvation” by Langston Hughes. I felt that “Salvation’ was a more power piece of writing. Though Rodriguez brought out his emotion well, I felt like Hughes did a better job influencing the reader with his opinion. When Hughes said, “Still I kept waiting to see Jesus” (634), it shows how much emotion Hughes actually put into writing this piece. Hughes uses short phrases throughout to show emphasis of his emotion. The main rhetorical device that struck me was the anaphora, where he writes, “Won’t you come? Won’t you come to Jesus?” (634). in the end, Hughes should have told his aunt about what happened. The way he ended “Salvation” gave the readers a chance to thing individually about their own opinions, causing this to be more powerful than “Family Values” which lacked in similar emotion at parts.

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Michael Gorton
10/3/2012 12:49:47 pm

I competely agree that Hughes use of rhetoric devices was impeccable, but on the subject of short sentences, I feel he only made the writing -- sloppier -- by using so many. He only needed a few to emphasize his point, but instead Hughes sought fit to over-use them. It made the writing too choppy, and somewhat confusing after a while.

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Leland Dunwoodie
10/3/2012 11:54:21 am

The two essays I chose are "My Creature from the Black Lagoon" by Stephen King and "Stranger in the Village" by James Baldwin. The piece by Baldwin is more powerful. While King's piece is more enjoyable, his points are unclear. King uses rhetoric more than Baldwin, but his rhetoric is ineffective in making his point. For instance, when King ends his piece with the sentences "Its eyes. Its ancient eyes" (544) his syntax strikes the reader but doesn't emphasize any point; it describes that he can picture the Creature in his mind. King uses a large amount of imagery as well to set the scene in his readers' minds, but he doesn't convey a clear message once he creates this imagery. Baldwin's piece is thirteen pages of straightforward message. Baldwin starts conveying to his reader that whites are considered superior to blacks throughout the world and throughout history on page one and doesn't stop until he concludes by saying that while whites are considered superior to blacks, the world is "...white no longer, and it never will be again" (447). Baldwin uses less imagery, syntax variation, and analogies than King but instead uses logos to prove his point by providing the reader with circumstances throughout history and the world in which whites considered themselves superior to blacks. King's diction is difficult and makes it hard to determine what his message is. When King describes the Creature as "batrachian" (537) he makes it difficult for his readers to imagine the monster because batrachian is not a common word. Also, King makes many little points instead of one powerful point. He says that kids are great audiences for horror movies, Disney stories are sometimes horror stories themselves, and that adults must break the threshold of imagination in order to enjoy horror. While King's readers will come away not quite sure of what King is trying to tell them, Baldwin's readers will come away knowing what Baldwin is trying to tell them and why his message is truthful.

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Carley Grau
10/3/2012 12:10:53 pm

I read "Am I Blue?" by Alice Walker and "My Creature from the Black Lagoon" by Stephen King. Kings essay struck me as informative and enlightening but not powerful. He seems as though hes trying to get through to a certain adult audience the way children can be misunderstood, but his description is not very to the point and there are some unnecessary details. The rhetorical devices he uses don't help convey his message or stand out very much. On the other hand, Walkers essay was very powerful and had a deep message in it. She uses certain words to show how connected she is with the horse in her story, and the way they are misunderstood. She uses analogy to relate the horses frustration with humans to that of slaves with white people. She explains the way animals are used by humans while the human doesn't think twice about the way the animal is feeling, but when you look you see the animal is capable of feeling just the same as a human. This is how it entwines with slaves and white people back in the day, the horses feelings are misunderstood by adults but not children the way children used to be raised by slaves but then once they were adults they no longer gave much thought to the slaves who raised them. It was a very powerful essay with a clear meaning and a good description to show what the author was trying to convey.

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Lauren Clem
10/3/2012 01:45:23 pm

I too liked "Am I Blue?" a lot! I really liked the author's main idea that she was trying to share. If people notice what it is that she is trying to say and then think outside the box, something very powerful could be taken out of it.

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Kaytlynn Toering
10/3/2012 12:22:20 pm

The two narratives I read were "My Creature from the Black Lagoon" by Stephen King, and "The Good Farmer" by Barbara Kingsolver. I found the Kingsolver narrative to be quite dull and had a hard time grasping the concept of the story she was telling. While reading the other blog submissions, I realized compared to the other wonderful narratives that the King narrative was not as powerful, but in my particular situation the King narrative was the most powerful. He uses many poweful words and phrases, and encourages the reader to think about the effect horror has on children, and how wild their imaginations can be. Writing about such an interesting and engaging topic, King uses an intricate voacbulary and word sequence relating to all viewers making it relatable and understandable. Using his own emotions about personal experiences, he allows the readers to connect with him. King also uses many rhetorical devices that jump off the page at you. They are very easy to identify, which make his writing strong and relatable. The paragraphs are of normal size, creating a friendly interaction with the reader, almost like he is pesonally talking to you. In no way whatsoever is his tone like that of his memoir, "On Writing". In this narrative, King is merely being more informative than anything else. He wants the readers to know that certain things affect children, and adults too, although in different ways. He might lack some serious emotion, but the narrative is powerful in one way--learning from children and adapting to certain enviroments. Kingsolver's narrative about her own personal life growing up on her family farm inspired her to want a farm of her own, along with her writing career. She talks about many memoires on the farm, but lacks certain emotions on feelings relating to the farm. In this case, King's novel is stronger, relating more to his audience and more in depth feelings.

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Michael Gorton
10/3/2012 12:41:54 pm

My two choices were "Salvation" by Hughes and "American Dreamer" by Mukherjee. After taking in the ideas of both essays, I must conclude that "Salvation" is the more powerful of the two. Although Mukherjee's passage gave me much more to think about, along with having a clearer central message, Hughes' use of rhetoric stands out more in the writing. Both pieces have extensive use of language, but Hughes definitely uses variety of diction to his advantage. Several quotes and words captured my attention, such as "Langston, why don't you come? Why don't you come and be saved? Oh, Lamb of God! Why don't you come?" (635). Unfortunately, I felt as though Hughes essay was sloppy in the category of structure, and was lost when it came to determining the overall message that was being conveyed. I believe his essay could have been much better if he would have spent more time on improving these aspects.

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Alex Forsythe
10/3/2012 12:42:08 pm

I chose to read American Dreamer byBharati Mukherjee and An American Childhood by Annie Dillard. Since both of these narratives had to deal with America, I thought they would be relatively similar. What I found out was that this is not the case at all. I believe American Dreamer to be more powerful because it was more informative. An American Childhood just simply talked about a mom who always had to be right and wanted her children to take a stand, versus American Dreamer which was about how important U.S. citizenship is to some people. Mukherjee claims that she is proud to be a citizen in the United States. She chose to come here from Asia because America is viewed as a melting pot, and she wanted to be somewhere where she felt like she belonged (435). Also, Mukherjee talks about how her and her husband lived in Canada and she didn’t feel like she was welcome (434). She also explains that it is good to be proud of your ethnicity, and to not forget where you came from (436). The author uses long sentence length to explain more, and to fit more information in. She also tends to use more challenging words when describing her culture to express how important it is to her. An American Childhood is basically just a story, and it is not very informative. Although, it does contain more rhetorical devices compared to the other piece. This particular piece has a smaller sentence length, and uses a smaller words choice as well.

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Danielle Keeana
10/3/2012 01:28:36 pm

I argree An American Childhood was mostly just talking about her mother and didnt hold my attention well at all

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Alex Forsythe
10/3/2012 12:44:21 pm

Also, something striking that I read was when Mukherjee talked about instead of America debating on "us" vs. "them", we should be debating on "we".

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Kathleen Risk
10/3/2012 12:47:39 pm

I read "The myth of the Latin Woman: I met a Girl named Maria" by Judith Ortiz Cofer and "Sarcophagus" by Richard Selzer. "Sarcophagus' was more powerful to me because of the imagery and symbolism Selzer uses and the themes, but "Maria' was also a great piece. Cofer seemed very bitter and resentful throughout the whole piece towards people who stereotyped latinos, which is understandable, but it was a bit too much. However, I was glad that she ended on a more positive note of challenging that stereotype. I also liked that diction used, such as using "myth" and "legend" which kind of makes the subject matter seem a bit more mystical, less realistic. However, "Sarcophagus" was by far my favorite. I was of course more interested in this one because it dealt with surgery and the medical world, which appeals to me since I am going to be a doctor. Selzer used much shorter paragraphs than Cofer. Imagery was quite prevalent throughout the piece, and so is the symbolism. What also appealed to me was the multiple references to religon. But what really made me love this piece was the themes it dealt with and the tone. Death is really the main theme, and it also shows how others are affected by death. I really liked how desperate the tone was at the end when the doctors just wanted to forget death and hang on to the life around them. "Sarcophagus" really made me think more, which makes it the clear winner.

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Sam Johnson
10/3/2012 01:09:32 pm

I agree with Kathleen Risk. I felt that 'Maria' was one-dimensional. It is intresting how imagery added dimensions to your other article. That by leaving less interpretation for the reader the author creates a more imaginative aura. It is the difference between building the scafolding to paint the mural and building the scafolding and leaving the canvas untouched.

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Zoey Holmstrom
10/3/2012 12:53:57 pm

The two narratives I read were ‘Am I Blue?’ by Alice Walker and ‘American Dreamer’ by Bharati Mukherjee. Mukherjee’s writing was very informative about world cultures. She does use many examples of her busy life (like moving from country to country) to describe how she was treated because of her race. She uses varied sentence structure; some sentences are long and intricate while others are just mid-length sentences. She really never uses short sentences to draw emphasis to a topic. In my opinion, ‘Am I Blue?’ was a much more powerful piece of writing than ‘American Dreamer’. The passage by Alice Walker also uses long, descriptive sentences in some places, but the vocabulary is much easier to understand and comprehend than Mukherjee’s writing. Personally, I thought the whole message of Walker’s writing was much more impactful. Walker uses many metaphors and similes, one of the most important being this, “Blue was, to me, a crazed person” (758). The reader sort of has to search for the hidden meaning until this point. Due to this, I wanted to keep reading the story to find out what this special meaning was. I thought it was really interesting how she compared so many of his characteristics to those of a human’s. For example, she describes the way Blue looks at her as ‘so piercing, so full of grief, a look so human’ (759). This piece had a much deeper meaning to me because of the simple, yet impactful way Walker chose to write it.

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Sam Johnson
10/3/2012 12:59:00 pm

I studied Richard Rodriguez’s Family Values and Judith Ortiz Cofer’s The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria. I settled with these by chance and they were surprisingly similar. They both deal with minority group’s conflict with society; Rodriguez’s being on homosexuals, the other being on Latin women. The former essay is more powerful because it deals with feminism, family values and racial stereotypes; Cofer has much less to say and says it in an article of equal length. Rodriguez’s is also more powerful in his diction and tone. They both used asyndetons; Rodriguez used rhetorical questions and connections with the audience (326-331). Cofer is more hostile using shorter sentences, although writing louder doesn’t make what she writes more important. In order to create importance to Rodriguez’s writing and get us emotionally invested he includes the readers by telling them that the ‘heterosexual household’ is splitting American’s families (330); Cofer’s essay remains impersonal. The best summarization of the tone set by Rodrigues is a quote from his section on ‘individualism’. “But the sadness, the loneliness of America, is clear too” (330).

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Courtney Bennett
10/3/2012 01:06:09 pm

I read “Am I Blue?” by Alice Walker and “The Stone Horse” by Barry Lopez. I found “Am I Blue?” to be the more powerful essay. I felt that “The Stone Horse” was a lot more informative, while “Am I Blue?” proved to be superior in making a point. Alice Walker's essay was thought provoking, leaving readers with a new perspective of animals and freedom. By expressing the emotions of animals, (loneliness, happiness, grief, hatred) Walker connects with peoples' hearts. Additionally, the use of imagery, evident in Walker's description of Blue: “… his flexible dark lips, huge, cubelike teeth...” (757), as well as rhetorical devices help Walker achieve emotional appeal. “What else were they going to express?” (757), and “What do they want?” are examples of rhetorical questions used to keep the reader thinking. The analogies about women, slavery, Indians, and youth (757, 758), were also effective in getting Walker's point across. The use of both long and short sentences aid in maintaining interest. “The Stone Horse”, in contrast, did not vary in sentence length. This essay had more historical allusions, which actually was detrimental to my ability to focus on the main topic. “The Stone Horse” was also slow paced and used less rhetorical devices. Overall, “Am I Blue?” had more literary components that attribute to it being more powerful than “The Stone Horse”.

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Justin Marutz
10/3/2012 09:19:32 pm

I have to agree with Courtney on her standpoint of the narratives. "Am I Blue" was a very moving piece and I would say inspire others to look at animals and others in another way than they did before.

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Mason Freehling
10/3/2012 01:16:11 pm

The two essays I chose to read were “Salvation” by Langston Hughes and “The Lonely, Good Company of Books” by Richard Rodriguez. I felt both the narratives were quite compelling, yet I felt like “Salvation” was the more powerful of the two. Both essays use somewhat short syntax as to represent the complexity of reading for Rodriguez, and the immaturity of Hughes. Hughes uses intensive imagery that truly allows the reader to see into the church on that memorable day. Because he takes things so literally, Hughes spends much of his time waiting to actually see Jesus walk up to him. The main rhetorical device I spotted was anaphora “Why don’t you come? My dear child, why don’t you come to Jesus?” (634). The anaphora really puts emphasis on the pressure that Hughes was facing when he was trying to go to Jesus. The main idea I take away from this passage is stay true to yourself and make your own decisions on your own terms.

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Kylie Wermund
10/3/2012 01:16:20 pm

I read "My Creature from the Black Lagoon" by Stephen King and "Salvation" by Langston Hughes. I found "Salvation" to be the more powerful of the two essays. While King discussed an interesting topic using many rhetorical devices and interesting syntax, I liked how Hughes told a story. Hughes uses anaphora when he writes what the preacher says to him. This is powerful because it displays exactly what was going on and what a big deal it was at the time. He also uses more diction than King which I found to be more powerful because it gave more of a feeling of a story being told rather than an interesting topic being discussed.

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Danielle Keeana
10/3/2012 01:25:18 pm

I read the narratives “Wonder Women” by Gloria Steinem and “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard, considering “Wonder Women” to be more powerful. The topic is strong to begin with the first female super hero when “American childhood” is just talking about her family. “Wonder Women” is mostly a metaphor for the women of WW2 who had to take men’s roles in the nation. It also uses a lot of rhetorical devices such as hypophora and metaphors threw out the text but Dillard doesn’t use as many. The diction for” WW” is vigorous compared to “AC” average word choice.

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Lauren Clem
10/3/2012 01:41:53 pm

From the "Narrative" section in the McGraw-Hill there were two narratives in particular that were enjoyable to read. Learning to Read and Write by Frederick Douglas and Am I Blue? by Alice Walker had two completely different different focuses in the writing but both were entertaining reads. While Douglass' was more personal, Walker's entry was powerful in a way that the reader was engaged enough to easily read through the entire narrative wanting more at the end. Because Walker used long, never-ending sentence structures, like in paragraph two for example, the reader could get a sense of how there are endless things to say about the location of where she lives and all that there is around her. Also, the long sentences are helpful when trying to connect many related points together, which is exactly what the author was trying to do. "...so green and succulent since January..." (756) is a strong phrase because of the imagery that is set in the readers mind. January represents the new beginning of every year, a fresh start for everything. The green in nature represents healthy and prosperous, which is also important in what the author is trying to portray. Now the author could change modes and connect the characters through the changing of the atmosphere around them. Walker uses rhetorical devices throughout the story as well to tell the story. An example of a simile would be "I remained as thrilled as a child..." (757). A rhetorical question, "What else are they going to express?" (757) is not only important because it is a device, but also because it has meaning as well. The author is forcing the reader to become involved with the story so they can experience the tone that the author is tying to imply. This usage of pathos is important because the emotions that the reader experiences is vital to the enjoyment of the story. A large analogy is used between pages 757 and 758 as Walker continues to express the relationship of different beings throughout history. Also, the appearance of "horseness" and "itness" on page 758 show how the author's own made up words are crucial to setting the tone of the story. By 758 the writing style has changed to shorter, choppier sentences because the mood in the story is limiting and very short. The reason why this narrative was so powerful was the lesson that was told in paragraph 17. Not only does it apply to animals, but people , too, must consider the fact that life is unfair and it is sometimes our own faults. The white horse is irony in its self because white represents freedom, but that is not at all how the author feels, and certainly not how the reader feels at the end. The controversy creates debate, and also opens up room for contemplating new ways for a change.

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10/3/2012 01:52:42 pm

The narratives I chose to read for this assignment were "My Creature from the Black Lagoon" by Stephen King, and "This Is The End of the World: The Black Plague" by Barabara Tuchman. While I love King and adore every piece of writing he does, I felt that it didn't hit home as much as my second choice. In Kings narrative, he uses plenty of rhetorical devices such as asyndeton, personification, and allusion. His use of syntax and diction are remarkable. "it's eyes. It's ancient eyes" (King 544). He uses words like "lurking, batrachian, degenerate aberrations, barricading, and idyllic." But I felt his topic wasn't as compelling as the narrative about the black plague. In my second article, everything was informative and full of hard facts. Tuchman was on point with allusion. She referenced not only the Black Plague, but royalty That was affected as well. She uses BIG words like bubonic, mortality, lethal, maligmy, pestilience, and rapid. These words give you a clear picture (imagery!!!) into this deadly disease and what happened. Tuchman switches up her syntax using short sentences, run ons, and puts plenty of quotes in there. This narrative was more powerful because this actually happened, and had affected every body at one point in there life. Yeah, nightmares and things that scared you as a child are real, but not as real is a disease massacre.

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Alex Miller
10/3/2012 02:01:53 pm

I agree with my little Haley, King lacked his usual connection to his readers and he had to many parenthesis that I had to keep track of.

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Alex Miller
10/3/2012 01:59:51 pm

The two narratives I read were, " The Lonely, Good Company of Books" by Richard Rodriguez and " My Creature from the Black Lagoon" by Stephen King. " The Lonely, Good Company of Books" was more powerful to me because there was not so much of examples but, more connection to the reader. He uses a lot of rhetorical questions such as," Didn't I realize that reading would open up whole new worlds?" (Rodriguez 263). He told the reader how he felt accomplished about reading and the more he read, the more he got praise from his teachers. Rodriguez's tone was kind of quiet. He rarely used exclamation points in the narrative and showed rarely excitement in the piece. The subject matter did not need excitement though. Also he uses hyphae in the narrative as well, " What did I see in my books? I had the idea that they were crucial for my academic success..." (264). His sentence structure were long sentences with a lot of explanation in them, which allowed me to know what he really meant. His word choice was simple, nothing fancy so I enjoyed what he said without having to pull out a dictionary. That is why I think it is so powerful.

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Austin Latack
10/3/2012 02:17:27 pm

I chose to read Frederick Douglas's "Learning to Read and Write" and "The Lonely, Good Company of Books" by Richard Rodriguez. Although both were incredibly interesting, I found Douglas's to be way more captivating and interesting. Douglas described his illiterate childhood as a slave, and how he found ways to become literate, such as tricking local white boys into doing it subconsciously. His language is very advanced, and is accompanied with very intelligent diction such as "indispensable" and "injurious" (257). His usage of rhetorical devices were immaculate as seen in such examples of metaphors: "During this time, my copy-book was my board fence, brick wall, and pavement; my pen and ink was a lump of chalk" (260). Furthermore, it was very intriguing to read about how he was an illiterate slave, trained himself, became literate, and then go back in the story and analyze how much of a stronger writer he came to be, especially with the past he once lived in.

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Jared Wendland
10/3/2012 03:06:18 pm

The two narratives I read were “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard and “Family Values” by Richard Rodriguez. After finishing both I definitely felt moved more by Family Values. For me An American Childhood’s narration of a kooky mother and her humor could not match Family Values story of a man’s process of coming out to his parents. Some of Family Values’ syntax was quite metaphoric. In fact the beginning line of essay is him describing being all alone sitting (326). Sentences like these as well as the words he chooses help to give the reader a feel for what is happening in the narrators mind. The author’s asking of rhetorical questions also put the reader in the mind of the man in the story. An example would be “But how would he know? Homosexuality never felt like a choice to me” (326). These devices build to feeling that the narrator is nerves and defensive. His defensiveness and rationalizing continues to be felt in other ways like when he is analyzing the contridictive views he thinks are standard in the United States. This on-going battle in his head of rationalizing is intense and is a main reason why this was more moving than An American Childhood . The intensity is formed a lot thought his phrasing and choice of words. Take example of “They regard me no less an enemy…”(328) and the recurring use of the phrase “family values” in a questioning tone. In the end this was a very heartfelt essay.

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Jeremy M. Barker
10/3/2012 04:02:51 pm

Richard Rodriguez displays a more powerful message in his essay "The Lonely, Good Company of Books" than Alice Walker does in "Am I Blue." First of all, Rodriguez's essay is more appealing to any English student rather than Walker's emotional connection to animals. Rodriguez uses several strategies to emphasize his thoughts. "Sentences of astonishing simplicity seemed to me lifeless and drab" (263). Here he is very descriptive in stating how he thought of lower level literature to encourage thoughts of going further in reading. Another time Rodriguez is descriptive is when he states "I'd feel a mysterious comfort then, reading in the dawn quite - the blue-gray silence interrupted by the occasional churning of the refrigerator motor a few rooms away or the more distant sounds of a city bus beginning it's run" (264). Here he is talking about the location in where he reads and how it was pleasingly comfortable. Rodriguez also uses several rhetorical questions in order to emphasize a point. "What was the connection between reading and learning?" (263). He uses this question to show the idea that made him was to read more. In "Am I Blue," Walker does use a simple diction and syntax in order to try and connect with a reader using casual language. In the beginning of the essay Walker even uses simple words such as "small," or "large." Walker uses more emotional words like "hatred, love, grief, pain" in order to appeal to a persons emotions. Not only was the connection emotional, but Walker even tired convincing people animals also have emotion (which I refuse to believe). This horse, "Blue," is sad and lonely as described in the essay and Walker is trying to explain that people need to care for animals feeling too. The emotion attachment does not stick as well as the connection that Rodriguez made to reading a book for learning and entertainment. Walker also use rhetorical devices such as the simile such as "Blue was like a crazed person" (258). Walker is trying to magnify that Blue is very stressed and acting like a crazed human. In contrast, Rodriguez had a tone that was friendly and persuasive while Walker had a tone that was more emotional depressed and whinny. In the end, Rodriguez has the more powerful essay.

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Jacob DeSutter
10/3/2012 08:00:44 pm

I also liked Richard Rodriguez essays, and how he tells about his past with the use of many rhetorical questions (he nearly has two paragraphs made of nothing but rhetorical questions) and they sucked me right in. I found to very close to the part of me who chose to take this class (and the area that made me read it in the first).

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Kathleen Janeschek
10/3/2012 04:03:29 pm

The essays I choose to read were "The Lonely, Good Company of Books" by Richard Rodriguez and "Salvation" by Langston Hughes. I found "Salvation" to be the more powerful of the two due to the way it framed its message. Hughes brings readers to the mind of a child through his uncomplicated syntax and language. By doing this he makes readers understand how he could believe the he had to actually see Jesus, a misconception that only a child could have. However, the end goal of the narrative was not "I didn't see Jesus so the bro must not exist," it was an example of an early struggle with feeling abandoned by God and questioning His existence, an issue which adults can and do struggle with. This isn't to say Rodriguez's essay wasn't impressive, but when dealing with powerful or moving pieces of work, Hughes creates a greater emotive piece. Rodriguez's essay had a formal air to it. Despite being a child for large parts of it, he didn't bring readers into his young mind. Instead, he described himself and his actions as if he were describing his actions to the police. Through his excessive references (263, 264) and rhetorical questions (264), he creates a questioning, academic feel to the narration. Ultimately this works in favor of his end point as he makes a social critique about the role of books and methods of education in today's world. However, Hughes essay still works better from a powerful point of view.

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Richard Harris
10/3/2012 07:29:54 pm

I also read "My Creature from the Black Lagoon" by Stephen King and "Sarcophagus" by Richard Selzer. I don't have much to say about King's essay because I had a hard time trying to focus while reading it. I noticed some Similes but they never helped in keeping my attention. The way he went on from one topic to another while making his point also made me lose interest. Selzer's essay, however, grabbed my attention and held it the entire time I read the essay; I think it is more powerful. He frequents asyndeton in short, detailed sentences about his assistants and the surgery he is participating in. The hyperbole gives a graphic image of the surgery, "He is bleeding all over North America." I thought the final sentence of the last paragraph was going to send chills through me; I lack a better term but it was creepy.

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Colby Clark
10/3/2012 09:38:19 pm

It seems that I have the unpopular opinion of actually liking King's essay. Whether or not he is writing about anything interesting, King's style still kept me engaged. It wasn't the best piece of writing by him, but it was good enough to keep me engaged.

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Jerred Zielke
10/3/2012 07:44:44 pm

The narratives I chose to read were “My Creature from the Black Lagoon” by Stephen King and “’This is the End of the World’: The Black Death” by Barbara Tuchman. Of the two, “My creature from the Black Lagoon” was more powerful. King uses many rhetorical devices such as the paradox in paragraph nine and the polysyndeton in paragraph 23. “The Black Death” was just statistics on how many people died. To me it felt like Tuchman kept droning on about how horrible the Black Death was and why certain people died. Tuchman didn’t use many rhetorical devices and there were too many specific numbers, but what do expect from a narrative about bubonic plague. Overall, “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” was a lot more powerful than “The Black Death.”

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Jacob DeSutter
10/3/2012 07:55:54 pm

For this activity, I chose the essays "Family Values" by Richard Rodriguez and "The Lonely, Good Company of Books" also by Richard Rodriguez (purely coincidence). I found Richard's "Family Values" too be a more touching essay- as he is speaking with the heart he had to hide. He uses many anaphoras in "Family Values" as a means to push out his message (330, 326, 327). His tone is also more of a lecturing tone "For they seem not to understand America" (329). While in he also goes on mini-rants and his personal viewpoint "have we ever truly valued the family?" (329). And he dives into his own darkest secret- he is gay and is going to do a true family value- tell his parents. The other essay focused on his other love, books. He gives his reason , at first, for reading and why he tried so hard and read so much. The progression he saw from reading (and the questions he asked himself along the way) made it have a more true personal connection to the part of me that chose to take this class. He does ask many rhetorical questions (263, 264) to get you thinking also, why do YOU read? It was hard to decide which one was more powerful- but more personal would have been the correct thing to search for. And its the personality poured into family values that makes it more powerful.

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Justin Marutz
10/3/2012 09:14:28 pm

The narratives I chose to read were Writing Matters by Julia Alvarez and Am I Blue? by Alic Walker. The more powerful out of these two would have to be Am I Blue?, due the way the words put another outlook on life. Though the writing is more simple than Writing Matters, that helps retrieve the emotions and understand the deep connection we feel to animals when some people are treated as such. Alice uses many similes such as “Blue was like a crazed person” (758). Throughout the story Alice is able to create an emotional bond to the reader through its analogies of those who were treated as animals throughout history (757, 758). The author brings up a really quite interesting argument as well best stated in this quote “As we talked of freedom and justice on day for all, we sat down to steaks. I am eating misery, I thought, as I took the first bite. And spit it out. The hypocrisy of people, owning slaves and saying we are all free. The use of alliterations at the end causes the readers to think are the animals truly glad to be slaughtered? “happy hens and contented cows” (759). To me Writing Matters was decent, but nowhere near as powerful as Am I Blue? was. In Writing Matters, the message was very well represented, though bland overall, with unnecessary descriptions, though with some decent rhetorical devices like rhetorical questions, “Oh, dear what have I done with my life?” (54). They seem to have little effect on the message. The two are both brilliantly written though without a doubt the emotional power Alice brings through using rhetorical device is incredibly powerful putting Am I Blue? in first.

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Justin Marutz
10/3/2012 09:19:59 pm

Forgot that italics do not transfer over.

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Colby Clark
10/3/2012 09:52:59 pm

The narratives I chose to read were “My Creature from the Black Lagoon” by Stephen King and "American Dreamer" by Bharti Mukherjee. Out of the two, I enjoyed King's essay more. His diction and style made it more powerful to me, and his constant allusions (537, 539, 542) to movies and books kept my brain engaged. Even though the topic of this essay was not anything incredibly interesting, King's voice managed to keep me involved. "American Dreamer" on the other hand was boring and inadequate to me. The point she was trying to make was drowned in the crushing wave of unorganized details. Her diction was as fittingly angry as the tone, which isn't nessecarily a good thing. She sounded like an emotionally distressed college girl who knew a lot of vocabulary but didn't fully comprehend what she was writing. Although neither essay was incredible, King's style and voice made it the more powerful of the two.

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